Wizards falter late to Bucks, 104-95
Washington and Milwaukee battled went back-and-forth on MLK Day
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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Bucks closed the Wizards out with an 11-2 run late to win 104-95. John Wall led the Wizards with 27 points and nine assists, while Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. both scored 19 points. The Wizards had a season-high 24 turnovers for 25 Bucks pointes, but forced 19 Bucks turnovers for 17 points.
The Bucks started off hot in the first quarter, going on a 10-0 run by making five of their first six shots. The Wizards would come back by locking Milwaukee down on defense and going on an 18-8 run of their own. Wall led Washington with 16 points and three assists in the opening period, while Beal added eight points of his own. Wall scored or assisted on 23 of the Wizards’ 30 first quarter points, making 6-of-10 shots and dominating his matchup with fellow Kentucky point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Wall finished the first half with 22 points, while Beal had 13. No other Wizards scored more than four in the first half, as turnovers plagued the Wizards throughout the first half, particularly in the second quarter. Washington turned it over 11 times in the second, leading to eight points off turnovers for the Bucks. The Wizards were able to hold Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to only 3-of-9 shooting in the first half, but the Bucks led at the half 53-31.
When Markieff Morris picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, Oubre stepped in. Oubre would have nine points in the third, making three triples. Anchored by a 15-3 run, the Bucks jumped out to an 11-point lead at one point in the third, but Oubre’s 3-pointer as time expired made it 78-72 heading into the fourth. Antetokounmpo was able to find his shot in the third quarter, scoring 10 points to lead the Bucks.
The Wizards carried over a 13-0 run at the end of the third to the beginning of the fourth, capped by a Wall to Tomas Satoransky fast break alley-oop. The Bucks, however, locked in defensively on the Wizards after that stretch, holding Washington to only 6-of-19 from the field in the final period. After beginning the game 24-of-25 from the free throw line, the Wizards only made 1-of-6 free throws late, shorting any chance of a comeback. The Bucks closed the game on an 11-2 run after the game was tied at 93-93.
“Throughout the game, we turned the ball over way too many times," Scott Brooks said postgame. "Twenty-four turnovers led to basically a lot of their transition points. Then, when we made them miss, they got second chance points. I think they got 20 points from second chance points. That's the key. Turnovers and second chance points. Late in the game we missed some free throws, [and] we missed some layups. You don't like that to happen, but throughout the game, there were too many turnovers and second chance points that really hurt us tonight.”
Washington held Antetokounmpo to 9-of-23 shooting, but the Greek Freak was still able to score 27 points and muscle a career-high 20 rebounds. Even though the Wizards were able to slow down Antetokounmpo in the first half, he still anchored the Bucks’ advantage on offensive rebounds (15-11), overall rebounds (44-39), points in the paint (42-38), second chance points (20-13), and fast break points (18-6).
“I thought we did a decent job on him. He's 9-for-23," Brooks said. "The last three or four minutes he was playing physical, and he got inside on us and we allowed that. If you allow that, you're not going to be able to outjump him. [With] his length, he doesn't even have to jump and he's going to be over the rim nearly. We got to do a better job of being physical throughout the game and throughout the shot clock and we didn't do that tonight along with our turnovers and second chance points and missed layups and free throws.”
The Wizards (25-19) will now head to Charlotte to begin their longest road trip of the season of five games in 14 days. The Wizards and Hornets will face off on Wednesday at 7pm.